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We have just returned from a great week in Derbyshire. We saw a lot of attractions, so prepare for a fair amount of reviews over the coming weeks. But here is our review of Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath.
Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath
Gulliver’s Kingdom is one of the 3 theme park resorts owned by Gulliver’s here in the UK. Specifically designed for children aged 2-13, they claim to be unique in being the best for entertainment for the whole family. As we have a 3 year old, we decided to put this to the test.
Buy Your Tickets Before You Go!
Firstly, do go online to purchase tickets. By buying online at least 2 days before visiting, you can make some great savings. In fact, E went free as she is under 5. So we just paid for 2 adults. Which at the time of writing this was £15 each.
Getting There / Parking
We travelled by car to Matlock Bath, which is a lovely town with a very seaside theme in the centre of Derbyshire. In fact, Guliver’s Kingdom is not that far from the Heights of Abraham, and both attractions can be done in a weekend.
We parked in one of the free car parks at Gulliver’s and entered via the top entrance to the park. The booking confirmation on my phone just needed to be shown at the entrance (you could print it out) and we were given a map.
Inside the Park
Inside the Park is split into different sections, including
- Lilliput Land
- Lost World
- Smugglers Wharf
- Western World
- Safari Kingdom, and
The attractions are spread throughout the park, and like most theme parks, some attractions are staggered to open slightly later in the morning.
We actually had a really fun day out. Because E is just over a metre tall, there wasn’t a lot that she couldn’t ride. Though she did need an adult to go on with her. The only attractions she wasn’t able to ride were the Crow’s Nest Quest (giant climbing frame with harnesses) and the Tree Top drop.
We hardly had to wait for any of the rides. And a couple of the rides we either stayed on, or walked around and immediately got to ride again. For someone who has been to many theme parks over the years, I thought this was brilliant!
We got to ride
- The Log Flume
- Safari Dodgems
- Dino Cars
- The Double Decker Carousel
- Gully’s Magic Bikes
- The Crazy Barrels
- The Log Coaster
- Flying Raft
- The Silver Mine
and some of the rides for the under 5s. E even went on the incredible fast Dino Falls water slide with her daddy, and that was the only ride she didn’t enjoy.
The Chair Lift
As Gulliver’s Kingdom is on a large hill, there is a chairlift that gets you from the second highest level to the entrance. Just like a ski-lift, this is continually moving. And open. You get some great views, but it is not for those scared of heights!
Other Things To See
There are lots of other things to see at Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath. Now these may not be for everyone, and may seem a little twee. But to our 3 year old they were fun, and interesting. Some of the dinosaurs in The Lost World move. There is a band of bears in Western World that periodically strike up a hoedown tune. E particularly loved the Old Macdonald attraction in Western World, where all the animals sing along when buttons are pressed. And the mini cavemen band. But I do realise that these things aren’t for everyone!
There is also a JCB land section where you can drive a full sized digger (E let Daddy have a go) and she could pick up balls with a mini digger too!
Quite pleasingly, there are only two small gift shops, and they are right at the entrances. Because we entered at the top entrance, we could bypass the shop completely.
Finally, there are plenty of free play areas with slides, climbing frames and swings, plus an indoor play area too.
The park is really hilly. And I do mean incredibly steep. If you look on trip advisor there are many comments on how people in wheelchairs and with buggies really struggle to get about the park. Plus it probably isn’t good for anyone with mobility issues, even though it does have a chairlift and a travelator. For us though, this wasn’t a problem. And the views are truly stunning. Not that our 3 year old was interested in those!
Also do be aware that children under 90 cm may be very limited to what they can ride. Again, looking on trip advisor it is clearly seen that a lot of people feel a little bit underwhelmed by how much is there for toddlers. There is a full section of rides for under 5s, but it is not a large part of the park.
There is also a very clear policy at the park on children being accompanied onto rides. Elizabeth was a little disgruntled at not being tall enough to ride a horse on the carousel. And if your child is smaller than 120cm, you may need to accompany them on most rides.
The last thing that I must say is on trip advisor there are a lot of comments on the park looking a little tired. And I must agree with these. It is certainly not as slick as Disney, nor Alton Towers. On the day we went, some of the attractions were closed.
Is it worth it? Our Verdict.
But we still had a fabulous day, and I think we really did get value for money. For the 3 of us I worked out that a day entry to Alton Towers would cost 5x as much. And would we have seen/done as much? I am not so sure. I would be interested to compare the Cheshire or Milton Keynes Parks.
So there you have it. We loved our day at Gulliver’s Kingdom, Matlock Bath, and think it is well worth a visit.
Find the Gulliver’s Website here
Travelling with a toddler? Here are some great must have apps for in the car.
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